A new study shows the Black Lives Matter protests taking place across America since the start of summer have led to a surge in voter registration.
According to NBC News, TargetSmart, a Democratic political data firm, analyzed local election officials’ registration data against their voter files and found Democratic and unaffiliated voter registrations surged in June, amid the large Black Lives Matter movement.
“Despite a full or partial lockdown in large swaths of the country for much of the month, voter registration began to rebound as people took to the streets to protest,” TargetSmart said in its analysis.
The study found 1.1 million voters registered in the first half of June. In June 2016, 1.5 million voters registered the entire month. The protests have also served as locations to get more people to register. Local and national reports from New York to California detail voter registration efforts at rallies.
Activists also posted QR codes on protest signs, allowing protesters to scan the code and begin the registration process on their phones. TargetSmart noticed the effort has boosted the number of Democratic voters in the country.
“Voter registration for Democrats nearly doubled in June from 17,000 in 2016 to 32,000 in 2020. Meanwhile, Republican registration essentially flat-lined at 17,000,” TargetSmart wrote.
The coronavirus pandemic has also played a large part in the voter registration surge. Typically, a rise in voter registration happens the spring before a presidential election. However, the coronavirus pandemic, which prompted statewide shutdowns and delayed primaries, led to a 32% drop in registrations compared to 2016. In May, the drop accelerated and registrations fell 54% compared to 2016.
Tom Bonier, CEO of TargetSmart, said in addition to the Black Lives Matter protests, President Trump’s lackluster response to the pandemic, which has led to more than 30 million citizens unemployed, is a reason for the registration surge.
“There’s this level of intensity, people are feeling like this situation is being very much mishandled, and if they have the opportunity to go and cast a ballot and put different people in charge,” Bonier told NBC News last month. “I think we’re seeing that in the vote registrations.”